Our calendar consists of twelve months – the amount of time it takes the Earth to complete one full cycle around the Sun.
The 365 days of the year are divided into four different seasons, each of which complements another: winter and summer, spring and autumn. Each season is characterized by its own typical weather, changes in the animals and plants and by its designated songs. Every season creates a certain type of atmosphere. In Israel the transitional seasons – autumn and spring – are short and often bring surprising weather changes.
Spring symbolizes blooming and renewal. In Jewish tradition, spring is also connected to the exodus from Egypt, the Jews' liberation from slavery, as we celebrate Passover, which is also known in Hebrew as the Festival of Spring. There is an atmosphere of awakening, new clothes, new shoes. Winter is over and a new season is here. "Great joy, great joy, spring has arrived and Passover is here", wrote children's poet Levin Kipnis.
The wildflowers that begin to bloom in the winter and came into full blossom in the spring are joined by the wonderful blossoming of almond trees, as well as deciduous fruit trees and more. Israel is filled with the sweet scent of its citrus trees.
Israel's first modern city, Tel Aviv, was named for the spring ("aviv" in Hebrew). This is a brilliant translation by Nachum Sokolov of the name of Theodor Herzl's book Altneuland (old-new land), in which Herzl foresees the-development and renewal of the Jewish people in Eretz Israel.
"Here the spring is two days old, here the spring shall die young. Anyone who remains indoors is either disabled or a monk", sang Naomi Shemer lovingly of our brief spring.
From the theme song for the children's television program Carousel, which described the seasons of the year:
"So come whirl round on the carousel Down and up and all around,
So come whirl round on the carousel
In summer, winter, autumn and spring..."
Author, translator and poet